Logan’s debut novel describes the ribald and twisted adventures of an affluent Toronto girl and her problematic clan.
The Barnacle family has a storied history in Ontario, Canada, living in comfort in Lawrence Park, a wealthy neighborhood in north Toronto. After the tragic death of a young daughter, their other daughter, Marie Dorée, becomes something of a family treasure. Nonetheless, she and her brothers live in fear of their rage-filled father, Raul, who cracks the whip at the slightest opportunity. Their mother, Tabitha, is an old-school, frugal woman who dispenses increasingly convoluted rationalizations for her controlling ways. Through endless attempts at preserving their family’s status in society, the Barnacles try to either guide or force their children into becoming adults that will be worthy of the family name. Marie finally escapes to college but begins her adult life by causing disaster after disaster both personally and, later, professionally. Her meddling family is always around to dispense advice and commands and to make every situation worse, until it becomes obvious that Marie may never break free of their collective grip. Told in a satirical voice that readily skewers “the lower upper-class” of Toronto, Logan’s narrative is at once intellectual, literate, weirdly funny, and unsettling. As Marie’s adventures take her from one awful relationship to another, including a turn in India and a rather odd friendship with a neurotic Scotsman, Logan uncovers bizarre and perverse desires in characters that otherwise would be vividly described caricatures. Logan has written an absorbing, frightening, and sometimes–long-winded satire (one character’s recitation goes on for eight pages, for example). The novel’s characters have intense, inward ruminations that lean toward the overwrought. The power of Logan’s storytelling, however, saves this book from being a simple farce and makes it something more like tragedy.Logan sketches the raw underbelly of Toronto’s quasi-aristocrats in merciless, jarring fashion.